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Stakeholder Capitalism

The Fight of a Lifetime: Salesforce Partners with Indigenous Activist to Combat Climate Change

Editor’s Note: This feature story was developed and written by one of Salesforce’s 2023 summer interns, Samantha Elizondo. On Nov. 7, 2023, Acción Andina was announced as a recipient of the 2023 Earthshot Prize honoring the year’s most innovative solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges.


While studying biology in Cusco, Peru, Constantino “Tino” Aucca witnessed an urgent environmental crisis unfolding. Expanding agricultural practices, illegal logging, and devastating fires were creating massive upheaval for the people of Peru’s Quechuan region, threatening their food supply.

The Quechuan region is one of many places in South America, and the world at large, facing the devastating reality of global warming. Seeing what was happening both at home and globally, Aucca decided to act. He founded Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos, a nonprofit dedicated to conserving endangered species and threatened Andean ecosystems. 

But that was only the beginning. 

Aucca, which means “warrior” in his native Quechua language, has a fitting name for the long-term fight that’s required to help save the planet. Since starting that first nonprofit, he has since dedicated three decades of his life to the cause that his last name embodies.

Aucca, which means “warrior” in his native Quechua language, has a fitting name for the long-term fight that’s required to help save the planet.

Today, Aucca serves as president of another initiative – Acción Andina. Founded in 2018 by Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos and the global NGO Global Forest Generation, Aucca and Acción Andina’s current focus is on conservation and restoration of trees, and community-building in Peru’s Quechuan region and South America at large. It has an impressive network of 25,000 volunteers in 99 communities across five Andean countries. 

Conservation, reforestation, and community building

A few years ago, in 2020, Aucca’s admirable work and passionate presence caught the eye of sustainability leaders at Salesforce.

At the heart of Aucca’s unwavering dedication is the Incan phrase “Ayni and Minka,” signifying the power of working together for the common good. This ethos closely aligns with Salesforce’s values and culture.

In 2020, Salesforce co-founded 1t.org, an ambitious initiative to protect the world’s forests. 1t.org seeks to unite governments, companies, NGOs, and individuals to conserve, restore, and grow one trillion trees by the end of the decade.

By partnering with ecopreneurs like Acción Andina, Salesforce aims to make a substantial contribution to 1t.org’s critical reforestation mission. Aucca is confident that Acción Andina, which has planted nearly 10 million trees, including more than 800,000 on behalf of Salesforce, with the help of Indigenous community members, “can help the company achieve its commitment to the trillion trees global movement because we have the volume that everybody’s expecting.”

Aucca is referring to the volume of support from the locals living in regions of South America who have been adversely affected by climate change. These are the people on the ground who are eager to learn more about sustainability and help restore native forests. 

However, Acción Andina’s sustainability initiatives go further than tree planting. The movement has also helped secure land titles for local communities, effectively preventing further exploitation of their natural resources. Additionally, Acción Andina educates the local community about how to preserve their land because, “the local people in the communities were only spectators. They have never been part of the solution to the problem,” said Aucca.

The work of Acción Andina has been recognized globally and is a finalist for the prestigious Earthshot Prize 2023 for its emphasis on water security, creating income opportunities, and promoting sustainable resource management.

This well-rounded approach to sustainability is exactly what Salesforce was looking for in a partner organization. 

“Working with local partners like Acción Andina is vital to Salesforce’s sustainability efforts,” said Tim Christophersen, VP Climate Action, Salesforce. “Empowering those with localized knowledge ensures that solutions implemented will yield the highest probability of success, and have the largest impacts possible for the Earth’s most important ecosystems.”

Empowering those with localized knowledge ensures that solutions implemented will yield the highest probability of success, and have the largest impacts possible for the Earth’s most important ecosystems.

Tim Christophersen, VP Climate Action, Salesforce

Embedding sustainability and climate action into core business strategies

Salesforce’s commitment to climate action also extends beyond 1t.org. The company’s comprehensive approach involves embedding sustainability and climate action into core business strategies. 

Through various programs and initiatives, the company has achieved net zero residual emissions, launched a Nature Positive Strategy, and established a $100 million ecosystem restoration and climate justice fund. Additionally, Salesforce’s carbon accounting solution, Net Zero Cloud, helps organizations track and measure their carbon footprint.

This work cannot be done in a vacuum, something that Salesforce and Aucca agree upon.

“We need more people who can push for more action,” said Aucca of having partners like Salesforce to help carry out the mission. “You are not only our donors and partners, you are also our bodyguards to help us confront all of these possible threats and answer appropriately to the needs that the world is demanding from us.” 

Explore more: Learn more about Salesforce’s sustainability efforts here

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